12 Sci-Fi Books & Movies List

Hullo, world! 

Yesterday, we went on an impromptu hike. I wasn’t expecting us to go to a 600+ metres peak, and the snow (apparently Vancouver is also Canada) and the clouds and basically everything. Well, it was gorgeous up there (albeit freezing), so I’m glad I went. I’m even more glad I’m back home typing this at my favourite desk. 

Anyhow. 

A lot of things happened this week, but one thing in particular reminded me how much I loved sci-fi, of all things. I know, weirdness. But sometimes there’s this thought that might pop up–Hey, I really love having bath and listening to podcasts or Mozart’s Requiem–and you kind of go on dreaming about it. So I’ve come up with a 12 Sci-Fi Books & Movies List

Without further ado, let us dive into the speculative and scientific…

1. Illuminae Files

Contents: Language, Violence, Thematic Elements, &c. (sorry, I don’t recall everything…just be reminded it’s kind of  intense)

Rating: PG15

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do. This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival mega-corporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than a speck at the edge of the universe. Now with enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra — who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to evacuate with a hostile warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A plague has broken out and is mutating with terrifying results; the fleet’s AI may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a web of data to find the truth, it’s clear the only person who can help her is the ex-boyfriend she swore she’d never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents — including emails, maps, files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more — Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

Okay, if you haven’t read this series yet, THEN WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING WITH YOUR LIFE???

Jokes aside, it’s probably my fav. sci-fi books, like, ever. There are some content warnings (i. e. language, although it’s crossed out) so I wouldn’t recommend it if you’re under fifteen, but this book’s for you even if you might normally not like space operas. I loathe space operas, and this is my fav. sci-fi book. Go figure. Plus, AIDAN. (Legit got me hooked on Mozart’s Requiem, which is what I’m listening to right now.)

2. Insignia

Contents: Language, Violence, Thematic Elements, &c. 

Rating: PG13

The earth is in the middle of WWIII in Insignia, the first entry in S. J. Kincaid’s fast-paced sci-fi adventure trilogy is perfect for fans of Ender’s Game.

The planet’s natural resources are almost gone, and war is being fought to control the assets of the solar system. The enemy is winning. The salvation may be Tom Raines. Tom doesn’t seem like a hero. He’s a short fourteen-year-old with bad skin. But he has the virtual-reality gaming skills that make him a phenom behind the controls of the battle drones.

As a new member of the Intrasolar Forces, Tom’s life completely changes. Suddenly, he’s someone important. He has new opportunities, friends, and a shot at having a girlfriend. But there’s a price to pay. . . .

This is the other sci-fi book I’ve read more than once. It’s been about two years since I last  re-read it, so my memory’s a bit foggy, but I loved the vibes of the story–hacking, check, corporate espionage and wars, check, weird teenagers, check–so I’d heartily recommend it if that’s the kind of thing you like. I mean, lots of weirdness and tech and military-esque-stuff. 

3. Cinder

Contents: Romance, thematic elements

Rating: PG

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless Lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . . Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg.

She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future. 

I recently read the first book of the Lunar Chronicles and absolutely fell in love with it. It’s mostly clean, I love all things cyborg–I mean, come on, it’s a sci-fi fairytale retelling! And it’s  Marissa Meyer. Nothing can go wrong with this setting. 

4. LIFE L1K3

Contents: Language, Violence, Thematic Elements, &c. 

Rating: PG15

It’s just another day on the Scrap: lose the last of your credits at the WarDome, dodge the gangs and religious fanatics, discover you can destroy electronics with your mind, stumble upon the deadliest robot ever built When Eve finds the ruins of an android boy named Ezekiel in the scrap pile she calls home, her entire world comes crashing down. With her best friend and her robotic sidekick in tow, she and Ezekiel will trek across deserts of irradiated glass, battle cyborg assassins, and scour abandoned megacities to save the ones she loves and learn the dark secrets of her past.

Fans of Jay Kristoff, the Romanov family, androids and nuclear-scarred landscape, unite! I got to read this book as an ARC and I just devoured it in one sitting. What I love about this book is that it doesn’t read like a normal sci-fi, despite the setting. Obviously I’m kind of obsessed with Russian history, so I loved the undertone vibe to it. Plus, there’s a girl named Lemon Fresh. Why wouldn’t I love this book? 

5. Warcross

Contents: Some violence, Thematic Elements, LGBTQ2+, romance, &c. 

Rating: PG13

For the millions who log in every day, Warcross isn’t just a game—it’s a way of life.

The obsession started ten years ago and its fan base now spans the globe, some eager to escape from reality and others hoping to make a profit. Struggling to make ends meet, teenage hacker Emika Chen works as a bounty hunter, tracking down Warcross players who bet on the game illegally. But the bounty hunting world is a competitive one, and survival has not been easy. To make some quick cash, Emika takes a risk and hacks into the opening game of the international Warcross Championships—only to accidentally glitch herself into the action and become an overnight sensation.

Convinced she’s going to be arrested, Emika is shocked when instead she gets a call from the game’s creator, the elusive young billionaire Hideo Tanaka, with an irresistible offer. He needs a spy on the inside of this year’s tournament in order to uncover a security problem . . . and he wants Emika for the job. With no time to lose, Emika’s whisked off to Tokyo and thrust into a world of fame and fortune that she’s only dreamed of. But soon her investigation uncovers a sinister plot, with major consequences for the entire Warcross empire.

Marie Lu’s a boss when it comes to YA sci-fi, but I’m really picky about books. Especially books set in Tokyo. *stares* Either a book captures Japan and its culture or it doesn’t. End of story. 

Warcross is the other book I’ll cradle in my arms and cry over. I just loved the neon city vibes–it brought back so many memories!! And I mean, Hideo is super hot. (Okay, I’ve got to admit, this and his family’s backstory that ties into bk2 is just…perfect.) And it’s one of those big corporate settings. I guess I really love slightly sinister organisations, sabotage, and espionage-vibes. 🙂

6. Space Trilogy

Contents: Violence, Some gore, Thematic Elements, (one lesbian person?)

Rating: PG13

OUT OF THE SILENT PLANET

Dr Ransom, a Cambridge academic, is abducted and taken on a spaceship to the red planet of Malacandra, which he knows as Mars. His captors are plotting to plunder the planet’s treasures and offer Ransom as a sacrifice to the creatures who live there…

PERELANDRA

Having escaped from Mars, Dr Ransom is called to the paradise planet of Perelandra, or Venus. When his old enemy also arrives and is taken over by the forces of evil, Ransom finds himself in a desperate struggle to save the innocence of this Eden-like world…

THAT HIDEOUS STRENGTH

Investigating the truth about her prophetic dreams, Anne Studdock encounters the fabled Dr Ransom, who is in great pain after his travels. A sinister society run by his old adversaries intends to harness the ancient powers of a resurrected Merlin in their ambition to subjugate the people of Earth…

Didn’t think I’d pull a Lewis on you? Think again. (Obviously I’ll try to sneak a C. S. Lewis book in a given book list.) I just love the way his Space Trilogy is layered. Out of the Silent Planet is definitely the most old-schooled sci-fi of the three, almost reading like a Wells book, but with a decidedly theological twist that somehow works. 

Perelandra is almost Miltonian in a sense, but the action towards the end is  pretty break-neck. 

That Hideous Strength, without a doubt, is my favourite ST book. I think one can also classify it as a dystopian with an English countryside-dark academia vibe to it. Not quite Orwellian (because obviously it’s Christian in its outlook), but shockingly contemporary in its themes and contents. A must-read. 

7. Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World

Contents: Violence, Thematic Elements, some graphic contents (I think?)

Rating: R18+

In this hyperkinetic and relentlessly inventive novel, Japan’s most popular (and controversial) fiction writer hurtles into the consciousness of the West. Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World draws readers into a narrative particle accelerator in which a split-brained data processor, a deranged scientist, his shockingly undemure granddaughter, Lauren Bacall, Bob Dylan, and various thugs, librarians, and subterranean monsters collide to dazzling effect. What emerges is simultaneously cooler than zero and unaffectedly affecting, a hilariously funny and deeply serious meditation on the nature and uses of the mind.

If you haven’t noticed it yet, I love sci-fi books that are philosophical at its heart. And, I’m also a Murakami fan. 

This is the second or third book I read, and it’s definitely my fav. Murakami book. I love how vague and otherworldly this story is although I can trace faint outlines of normal Tokyo I know. Except it isn’t. This book isn’t for young audiences, however, so I’d caution that. (But I think it’s milder than other Murakami books, IDK.)

8. The Alex Crow

Contents: Violence, Gore, Thematic Elements, Actual War, some graphic contents, &c. 

Rating: PG15

Once again blending multiple story strands that transcend time and place, Grasshopper Jungle author Andrew Smith tells the story of 15-year-old Ariel, a refugee from the Middle East who is the sole survivor of an attack on his small village. Now living with an adoptive family in Sunday, West Virginia, Ariel’s story of his summer at a boys’ camp for tech detox is juxtaposed against those of a schizophrenic bomber and the diaries of a failed arctic expedition from the late nineteenth century. Oh, and there’s also a depressed bionic reincarnated crow.

I know I mentioned this book in another one of my book lists, but now that I think about it, it does have a decidedly sci-fi vibe to it so I’ve taken it up again! I love the convoluted timelines and Ariel’s story (which is heartbreaking) as well as the bizarreness of the expedition diaries. There’s this invisible scientific corporation undertone that’s also really chilling. 

9. Wilder Girls

Contents: Violence, Gore, Thematic Elements, LGBTQ2+

Rating: PG15

It’s been eighteen months since the Raxter School for Girls was put under quarantine. Since the Tox hit and pulled Hetty’s life out from under her.

It started slow. First the teachers died one by one. Then it began to infect the students, turning their bodies strange and foreign. Now, cut off from the rest of the world and left to fend for themselves on their island home, the girls don’t dare wander outside the school’s fence, where the Tox has made the woods wild and dangerous. They wait for the cure they were promised as the Tox seeps into everything.

But when Byatt goes missing, Hetty will do anything to find her, even if it means breaking quarantine and braving the horrors that lie beyond the fence. And when she does, Hetty learns that there’s more to their story, to their life at Raxter, than she could have ever thought true.

I did a review of this book I was going to post on my blog but never did. (I think I posted a short version on Goodreads.) Which, btw, expresses my sentiments well. 

But I wanted to include this book on this list because the situation is absolutely delectable. Like, an all-girls school that’s cut off from the rest of the world? An unknown illness that decomposes a person from the inside out (flowers budding from your arm, that kind of thing)? Um, I’d totally read it. And although it could be better, I really do love the setting. So if that kind of thing’s your cup of tea, go for it!

10. Anomaly

Contents: Thematic Elements, romance, &c. 

Rating: PG

Thalli has fifteen minutes and twenty-three seconds left to live. The toxic gas that will complete her annihilation is invading her bloodstream. But she is not afraid.

Thalli is different than others in The State. She feels things. She asks questions. And in the State, this is not tolerated. The Ten scientists who survived the nuclear war that destroyed the world above believe that emotion was at the core of what went wrong—and they have genetically removed it from the citizens they have since created. Thalli has kept her malformation secret from those who have monitored her for most of her life, but when she receives an ancient piece of music to record as her community’s assigned musician, she can no longer keep her emotions secreted away.

Seen as a threat to the harmony of her Pod, Thalli is taken to the Scientists for immediate annihilation. But before that can happen, Berk—her former Pod mate who is being groomed as a Scientist—steps in and persuades the Scientists to keep Thalli alive as a test subject.

The more time she spends in the Scientist’s Pod, the clearer it becomes that things are not as simple as she was programmed to believe. She hears stories of a Designer—stories that fill her mind with more questions: Who can she trust? What is this emotion called love? And what if she isn’t just an anomaly, but part of a greater design?

I think this is the first Christian YA sci-fi I’ve read that was simply stunning. Like, I’d suffered through the whole Christian-contemporary-fiction-sucks stage, lots of despairing remarks, salvage attempts, tears (“Why can’t Christian books be awesome like non-Christian books??”) &c, and here’s a book that completely disrupts that. I debated a bit whether to put it in dystopian or sci-fi but think at its heart it’s sci-fi. Also, any book with a classical musician/music paired with science will not fail me. At least, I believe so. 😉

11. Inception

Contents: Violence, Thematic Elements, &c. 

Rating: PG-13

I know I promised you movies, and this ends up being the first out of twelve mentioned. 

But. 

I kind of have a love-hate relationship with sci-fi movies in general, and Inception’s about the only movie I’ll recommend without any hesitation. I mean, I read a follow-up book, Inception & Philosophy. I have Inception fanart on my walls. I dream about re-watching Inception every opportunity I get. Yes, I’m obsessed with it. 

12. Matrix

Contents: Violence, Some gore, Thematic Elements, Graphic scenes, &c. 

Rating: R18

Like the Wilder Girls, I have mixed feelings about this movie. I loved the first one, the second one’s a bit iffy, and it does kind of recover in the third one, but even writing about it makes me pause. I guess it’s one of  those movies I have a love-hate relationship with bordering on the negative side. 

Yet it is a really interesting conversation with philosophy. science, and cognitive systems (die-hard topic for me), so I obviously wouldn’t miss it. Would not recommend anyone under fifteen the youngest watching it. 

So that’s it! Thanks for reading so far. 

Are you a fan of sci-fi? What’s your favourite sci-fi book/movie? Do you like any of the sci-fi books/movies in this list? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to chat with you!

My 12 Christmas List

Hullo, world! 

Can you believe we’re less than a week until Christmas? (I can’t and I can.) 2020 has been this weird, convoluted and longish short year that will stay in my memory as a pivotal time. And even though I probably won’t see many people other than my immediate family this Christmas, it will always be a time of great joy and celebration. 

One of the things I’ve been thinking about Christmas is the iconic 12 Days of Christmas song. I love to sing that song (and play it on the piano), so I thought, “Why don’t  I create a blog twist to it?” 

And this is the list I came up with! (It literally has nothing to do with the numbers, but bear with me. Lists of any kind makes me happy.)

So without further ado, I present to you My 12 Christmas List filled with the winter wonderland vibes…

1. Dutch Blitz

If you are confused, I apologise ahead of time. But ever since we got Dutch Blitz in Japan with a German-English instruction, we loved this game! I’m still confused if it’s Dutch or German in origin (okay, it’s German, I just looked it up on Wikipedia) but that doesn’t change the fact it’s a Vonderful Goot game! 

Also, our siblings are super competitive, so we have to make sure we have a 911 call close by…

2. It’s A Wonderful Life

I know, I sound cliché. I am. 

Yet I don’t see how anyone in their right mind wouldn’t watch It’s A Wonderful Life on Christmas. 

And that’s all I’ll say on this movie. 

3. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Since I pulled the It’s a Wonderful Life card, it can be reasonably deduced I will next jump the gun to Narnia. (And if any one of you want to check out the depth of my obsession with the series, check out The Narnia Tag I created!)

No Christmas is complete without the first adventures of the Pevensie siblings. I’m planning to re-read the book (for the hundredth time), listen to the epic soundtrack, and watch the movie!

4. Little Women

I’m basically going down the Christmas classics with this list, and this is something I default revert to during the Christmas season. My sister has been on my heels to re-watch the 2019 version Little Women, and now that it’s officially Christmas season, I’m all for it!

5. Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Album

Courtesy of Pinterest

I am a huge fan of Tchaikovsky, and what better way to spend Christmas than by listening to his Nutcracker ballet? It’s absolutely magical, and although I don’t do ballet, I love banging out his variant dances and waltzes–especially his Waltz of the Flowers. 

6. Wicked Saints

This is where I veer off from the classical Christmas list. But having read this book in mid-summer in the mountains, I felt like I had to do it justice and put it back in the proper season it belonged to–winter. 

Wicked Saints is everything winter can be–white, endless, bitter and cruel. At the same time, it’s also breathless and wonderful, inversing our perspectives. 

7. A Darker Shade of Magic

Courtesy of Pinterest

I love the four Londons that come out in this book, especially White London. *collective gasps* I know, I’m that one weird person who had to go ahead and say that. 

Anyhow, I’m looking  forward to curling up beside the fireplace re-reading this book over the winter break. 

8. A Winter’s Promise

Courtesy of Pinterest

Some of you might have already heard me screaming about  this book since I found out about its existence in May. If not, check out my review on the first book and the second book on my blog. 

A Winter’s Promise is the reverse of Wicked Saints in that it has the same Russian-Polish vibes of the harsh winter, but also combines the sparkling effects of other European winter expertly. It’s another thick tome I wouldn’t mind nibbling on during winter! (Plus, one can never have enough of Ophelia, her scarf, and Thorn.) 

If you like Howl’s Moving Castle, Castle in the Sky with a decided arranged marriage twist, you will like A Winter’s Promise. 

9. Brooklyn Tabernacle Christmas Album

Okay, I did sort of go off on a completely different tandem again, but hear me out. 

I grew up in a nondenominational international church in Tokyo run by Southern Baptist pastors. We had a two-week Christmas concert with six showings, with a completely different show each week. Since my parents were in choir, we were singing Christmas gospel songs from July. 

I know, such is a life of a Christian homeschooler. 

So any Christmas is not complete without a spectacular gospel-infused Christmas music. 

10. The Snow Queen

Courtesy of Pinterest

And we’re back to the classic list! I love Hans Christian Andersen’s Snow Queen, it was probably my favourite fairy tale growing up. On that note, it still is! 

So I beg you to give it a read if you have not, since none of the movies out there give  it enough justice to this gem. 

11. Caramel Brûle Latte

Courtesy of Pinterest

I’m not sure if this is a Canadian (or North American) thing, but it doesn’t feel like Christmas until Starbucks start promoting their Caramel Brûle Latte. I drink at least two or three cups before it’s Christmas!

12. The Book of Isaiah 

And lastly, no Christmas is Christmas without a good re-reading of the Book of Isaiah from the Bible. Ever since I was little, Isaiah (along with Jeremiah and Eccelsiastes) were one of my favourite books of the Bible. I think the biggest reason is all the Messianic prophesies streamlined in it. It offers me great hope and also prepares my heart for the coming of Christ–which is what Christmas is. 

So that’s My 12 Christmas List! Thanks for reading this far. 

What did you think? Do you have 12 things that makes you think of Christmas? Are you familiar with any of the things I mentioned? What do you think should be on a Christmas list? Let me know in the comments below; I’d love to chat with you!

The Narnia Tag

Happy Thanksgiving!

To those of you in America confused, Thanksgiving in Canada is a month early, since if we harvested crops in November, there’d be nothing left to harvest but snow and ice. Also, we eat chicken stuffed with rice, quinoa, and veggies. (That’s just my family’s thing. As we’re Japanese, we’re not really a fan of turkeys. Sorry.)

Today, I’ve come up with one of the most ingenious ideas of all time. 

I will create…a Narnia Tag! *insert fanfare*

I know, super original, right? (By which I mean exactly the opposite.) I was actually meaning to do this in November, which is C. S. Lewis’s birth month and also passing, but I realised November should be reserved for intense writing. Mainly that not-WriMo thing I’ll be doing. (Yes, I’ve decided not to do NaNo on the NaNo website. More on that in November.) And what more better excuse to rant about Narnia?

So without further ado, here we go…

NOTE: Now that I think about it, this post would contain heavy spoilers and  inside jokes to the tenth power. I do apologise about that. 

The Rules:

1. Thank the person who nominated you (Thank you, my ingenious self!)

2. Describe the rate of your Narnia fanatic (Nostalgic, Serious, Maniacal)

3. Answer the questions below

4. Tag 5+ bloggers

5. Have fun!

Rate of Narnia Fanatics:

1. Nostalgic Fanatic—You read the book and/or watched the movies as a child and the word Narnia gives you a warm feeling

2. Serious Fanatic—You rediscovered the wonder of Narnia after you were older and have read the books and watched the movies

3. Maniacal Fanatic—You have lived Narnia from childhood, hid in closets on more accounts than is healthy, have read and watched all the movies including the BBC version

Obviously, I’m the Maniacal Fanatic. I had serious existential crisis when I turned seventeen, y’all. 

Must we explain more?

The Questions:

1. Who is your favourite Pevensie sibling?

Peter. Without a doubt. (I mean, I’m the eldest sibling. So I related to him the most when growing up.)

Courtesy of Pinterest

2. What is the most underrated book in Narnia?

Okay, this one is actually super hard. I want to say The Magician’s Nephew, but I feel like it’s not that underrated, so probably The Horse and His Boy. If you know anything about book Narnia, it’s that the books that got turned into movies (esp. Prince Caspian) is pretty different from each other. That doesn’t mean I don’t like it. Quite the contrary, actually. 

But anyhow, the thing is, The Horse and His Boy is actually one of the most fast-paced and adventurous Narnia books, and it’s like it doesn’t even exist. What is wrong with this world!?

So I proceed to create a collage.

3. Who is your favourite Narnian king?

Prince Rillian. I mean, he becomes King, but you know what I mean. 😉

Who wouldn’t love a tortured hero who’s been abducted and brainwashed into attacking his own country. 

Courtesy of Pinterest (originally on tumblr)

4. Who is your favourite Narnian queen?

This is actually harder… I want to say it’s Aravis, but she’s a Queen of Archenland. I guess she technically counts, right? 

5. Which non-human Narnian do you like best?

Gahh, this is conflicting! Everyone loves Mr Tumnus, and  I do, too, but  I must say I love Jewel and Puddleglum. And Bree. Wait, since I’ve mentioned Puddleglum, I can’t go back and say he’s not my favourite…Because Puddleglum is my favourite, obviously. 

Obviously.

6. Which book deserves a movie?

The Silver Chair, obviously. (In case you can’t tell, The Silver Chair is my favourite Narnia book.) I love the BBC version, too, and it’s actually quite decent, but I would love to see what they can do with modern filming techniques. But thinking from the original casts’ age, I think they should do The Last Battle…if they do anything anymore at all. 

(And here Narnia fanatics all over the world begin crying. Why aren’t there any more Narnia movies? Maybe I will become a millionaire and create the rest of the films…)

Really. Just Look up Narnia + Aesthetic.

7. What is one thing you did as a Narnia fanatic you do not regret?

I started creating a timeline of Narnia and the modern world. Sadly, I didn’t finish it, but it offered so much scope for the imagination and realism I would actually try to finish it after all these years. Plus, you get  to memorise all the names of the Kings and Queens of Narnia while you’re at it. 😉

And I’m tagging:

  1. Jenna Terese
  2. Marie (Writing for Christ)
  3. Maya Joelle
  4. Merie Shen
  5. Bookworms and Bluestockings
  6. Bella Putt (Thank you, btw, for nominating me  for other tags. I’ll get around to it soon…)
  7. Emma Starr
  8. Mere Colloquials
  9. And you who are interested!

What did you think? What kind of Narnia Fanatic are you? (Or any, at all?) Do you have a book series you’re fanatical about? Let me know in the comments below; I’d  love to chat with you!